Tue | Jul 7, 2020

Clarke was kind and selfless to mentees

Published:Thursday | May 28, 2020 | 12:11 AM

?He had a heart of gold. He was a great mentor who genuinely cared about people. He was kind and selfless,? declared Kaysia Johnson Vaughan, a graduate of The University of the West Indies and a mentee of Oliver Clarke.

She related how every year Clarke would invite the team of mentees, which numbered nearly 20, for a meal at his home or at a restaurant. Moreover, he would ensure that a resource person was at those meetings to help chart them in the right direction.

?He was committed to the mentorship programme. He even took on persons outside of the programme. If he can help, he will and if he can?t, he will connect you to key persons who can. He never left you stranded. He was always finding a solution. He had many values that you would want to emulate,? she maintained.

?What I admired about him was that he cared a great deal about young people. He took the time to understand people and offer advice. He was probing; he would ask about your life, the plans you have for your life, and he would hold you accountable. He always wants you to do want you said you would do.?

One of the major impacts that Johnson Vaughan said that Clarke had on her life was guiding her in her career choice.

?I remember when I discussed with him that I couldn?t decide whether to pursue law or marketing or communication, he arranged for me to meet with persons in both fields. As a result, I was able to make a decision.?

Long after she had graduated from university and established herself in the corporate world, Clarke still maintained the connection and took interest in her family.

?He would ask me about Victoria [her young daughter]. One day, he sent a huge teddy bear to my office for her,? she said.

Beyond his philanthropy, Johnson Vaughan remembers Clarke as being stern and having a dry humour.

?You have to laugh when you are with him. He was down to earth and real.?